A woman passenger travelling from Muscat was arrested at the Mumbai airport on Monday night after security officials found a satellite phone, a prohibited item, in her hand baggage.
Rebecca Harris, a British national, was arrested before she boarded a Bhuj-bound flight from Mumbai. Security officials said there was a possible a security lapse by officials in Muscat and Mumbai who cleared her without spotting the banned item.
It is also not clear how Harris cleared security check at Muscat and boarded an Air India flight to Mumbai.
On Tuesday morning, the airport police station officials produced Harris before a metropolitan court, which granted her bail. The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) caught her while screening her hand baggage at a domestic terminal. “We arrested her under Section 6 of the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act which prohibits civilians from carrying such devices,” said a senior CISF official.
The law requires a person to have government authorisation to carry a satellite phone, a wireless communication device that uses a satellite link. Police interrogation failed to reveal why Harris was carrying a satellite phone. After a brief interrogation by the CISF, Harris was handed over to the police.
The arrest sparked off a scare in the wake of an intelligence alert which stated that a 14-member team of suspected terrorists was on the loose to hijack aircraft around Independence Day.
The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), the country’s policy maker for airport security, has circulated a list of these terrorists, who ostensibly sneaked into the country last month and procured fake identity cards from Ahmedabad.